T Nation

Hack Squats Vs. Front Squats


Okay, I've always felt that Front Squats were a great compound, quad dominant exercise, but I recently tried Hack Squats for the first time (about a month ago) and loved them.

For Hack Squats:
1) I felt much more fatigued in my quads after Hack Squats than Front Squats.

2) I was able to use much more weight with Hack Squats. Your body feels more weight, it will respond better as far as strength and muscle growth due to more hormone release.

3) Hack Squats are easier to get used to and require less time 'wasted' to learn the exercise (though once you learn it, there's no more time wasted).

For Front Squats:
1) Longer range of motion with Front Squats.

2) Any different exercise is good so your body feels something new.

That's all I could think up right now.
Does anyone see any reason to use Front Squats in place of Hack Squats?


I feel the opposite way about hack squats. I have never felt comfortable with my form. The bar always gets stuck against the back of my thighs on the way up. Then when lowering the natural bar path seems to be right into the middle of my calves.

Now that I do front squats more often it definately don't feel it as exclusively in the quads as I used to, but my front squats have gotten much stronger. I think the hardest part about front squats is actually holding the bar, but I usually do low reps anyway so it is not as bid a problem. I am also use my lower back heavily for squats so I had to learn to use my legs more.


I started doing O-style front squats for the same reason, to get my strong lower back out of the movement as much as possible. I've only been at it for 3 weeks, but boy do my wrists kill me! And let's not talk about windpipes...good job I'm on 5x5.

They do deliver, though--after the first session my VMOs were screaming.

I've never tried hack squats, but will eventually get around to it.

SWR, is the shorter range of motion due to the plates hitting the floor? If so, you could squat on a platform.


Two reasons why I like front squats over hack squats are:

  1. You can work more stabilizer muscles, abs, lower back etc.

  2. Going heavy on cleans sometimes I have to catch the bar deep (squat clean) and I feel that practicing front squats helps me feel comfortable catching the weight low if I have to.


I thought of another reason why I like front squats. I have the luxury of lifting using bumper plates and during a front squat if I fail I can throw/dump the bar. This has worked great, I don't have to fear not completing a lift, getting stuck or injured now that I have become a lot more experienced at this exercise.


You're right. I was thinking about using 25lb plates instead of 45s to get the bar lower.

My wrists were killing me too with the 'finished clean' style grip. I wasn't able to hold any more than 95lbs holding the bar the other way. I was using 155 with the clean grip.

I just did Hack Squats again today, and wasn't able to finish, so I had to go on to front squats to finish my sets. My grip failed to hold the weight, even with straps >:[

My grip has always been a problem, and now it's getting ridiculous. I've been working on it seperatley and it's been getting better with deads, but still not where I need it to be.

Chalk up another point for Front Squats. If you have a pussy grip like me and can't hold your Hack Squat weight, you can go to Front Squats.

I'm going to start trying the hook grip that CT has talked about a few times. I think I won't be feeling my thumb for a month or so though.


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Before I had the flexibility and strength in my wrists and the size in my shoulders I hated front squats. Now days I consider front squats one of my favorite lifts although that may just be because I do them on oly day and I love oly day.